education

There's plenty of anxiety in the U.S. over getting into a top college. But a new Gallup poll suggests that, later in life, it doesn't matter nearly as much as we think. In fact, when you ask college graduates whether they're "engaged" with their work or "thriving" in all aspects of their lives, their responses don't vary one bit whether they went to a prestigious college or not.

Hardin County Schools

A financial gift from a corporation will allow a Hardin County high school to offer a curriculum designed to help students excel in the STEM fields.

Dow Corning Corporation announced Monday that it’s donating $25,000 to implement the Project Lead The Way program at John Hardin High School. Project Lead the Way is a non-profit effort that designs programs related to science, technology, engineering, and math that are used in over 5,000 schools in the country.

Hardin County Schools spokesman John Wright says Project Lead the Way will open doors for students who excel in the program.

“North Hardin, John Hardin, and Central Hardin engineering students will now get the prerequisites that they need at their home high schools that will allow them to go to our new Hardin County Schools’ Early College and Career Center that opens in August.”

Kentucky high school students worried about the math portion of a statewide assessment test have another reason to be stressed.

The Kentucky Department of Education this week announced it will no longer allow students to use calculators that have the algebra software package Zoom Math while taking the ACT Compass test. That test is taken by high school seniors who haven’t met college-readiness benchmarks on the ACT test taken during their junior year.

Northern Kentucky University Math Professor Steve Newman helped lead the charge against Zoom Math, and says students who knew little algebra were able to use the software to get passing grades on the test.

“And that doesn’t mean they know anything about mathematics, know how to solve equations, or do all the kinds of things that colleges require them to know.” Newman told WKU Public Radio.

Newman says he helped lead several experiments at NKU that looked into the impact of Zoom Math on a test-taker’s ability to get the right answer on the ACT Compass test. The Kentucky Department of Education also conducted similar studies.

The Department of Education has released a list of 55 colleges and universities facing investigation under Title IX for their handling of sexual abuse claims.

Releasing the list is described as an unprecedented move. NPR's Brian Naylor says the list "starts at Arizona State University and ends at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine."

Abbey Oldham

Cathy Roemer-Garrison is always looking out for innovative ways to teach.  She’s an English as a Second Language instructor at Moss Middle School in Warren County. 

"I came across on the Internet something about children reading to shelter animals, and that the research showed it was successful at improving reading fluency and building self-esteem, which is a perfect fit for my ELL kids," explained Roemer-Garrison.

She took the idea to Principal David Nole, who admits he was skeptical at first.

"I thought, 'How's that going to improve what we're doing?'  The more I listened the more I realized she was going about the heart of the reader, and that's just developing the love to read," Nole said.

And so it began.  An initiative called Paw Pals: Literacy with Love.  Every Wednesday, Roemer-Garrison visits the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society with a group of ELL students, or English Language Learners.  Most are from war-torn countries, but at the shelter, those memories are overcome with smiles and laughter.

On this visit, a shelter employee brings out eight-week-old long-haired Chihuahuas.

Seventh graders Graciella Ventura of El Salvador, and Soe Meh and Bway Baw both of Thailand, sit in a circle, each holding a puppy and a book.  Storytime is about to begin.  Ventura has a wide grin as one of the puppies licks her face.

WKU

WKU is part of a collaborative effort to increase the number of minority students pursuing degrees in the so-called “STEM” fields.

WKU and eight other higher education institutions in the commonwealth and West Virginia have been awarded a five-year, $ 2.5 million National Science Foundation grant that will primarily focus on undergraduates seeking diplomas in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

WKU’s Associate Vice President for Retention and Student Services, Joelle Davis Carter, says she hopes some of the school’s grant money will be used to create a “summer bridge” program.

“This would be an opportunity for prospective college students to come to campus a little earlier, maybe five weeks earlier, stay on campus, and participate in reiterations of math and science,” she told WKU Public Radio.

At some schools, the admissions process itself can work against low-income students, according to Georgia Nugent, former president of Kenyon College and a senior fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.

Nugent says during her tenure at Kenyon, there were low-income students at the bottom of the admissions list who sometimes weren't accepted so the school could make room for more affluent students.

WKU

WKU President Gary Ransdell is confident the school will be able to grow its international student body over the next several decades.

But he admits it will become more difficult to do so as countries such as China and India become wealthier and begin to build more of their own universities.

“There are not enough colleges and universities to meet the needs in an awful lot of the countries that have growing economies and growing populations. Therefore, we’re a solution," the WKU President said. "Now, in another generation—in another 25 or 30 years—they may have built enough universities to meet their needs.”

Dr. Ransdell says WKU is actively recruiting in several countries where the school has previously not had a presence.

“South America is really an emerging market for higher education," Ransdell said during a break in Friday's Board of Regents meeting. "We’re looking at as many as 90 students from Brazil next year. We’re always looking for new markets. Turkey is an emerging market for us. Their economy is doing great, and their families are looking for a place to send their sons and daughters.”

Mid-Continent University

WKU is working to recruit students from a school in far western Kentucky that is closing at the end of June.  

Mid-Continent University in Mayfield announced this week that it will shutter due to financial struggles. All employees have been laid off, though many faculty members have volunteered to continue helping students who are set to graduate this semester.

WKU Provost Gordon Emslie says the school has been working since the announcement to reach out to Mid-Continent students.

“We’re offering students the ability to transfer here, we’ll waive the application fee, we’ll match their courses in their catalogue to our courses in our catalogue, to try to facilitate that transfer as much as possible," Emslie told WKU Public Radio Friday. "We’ll work with them on tuition and scholarships, and financial aid. And we’re going to go out to Mayfield someday next week.”

Emslie said a website has also been set up to help Mid-Continent students learn more about transferring to WKU.

Mid-Continent is a non-profit university with about two-thousand students. Most are non-traditional and take online courses.

The Office of the Kentucky Attorney General has also set up a website dedicated to helping Mid-Continent students. In addition, the AG’s office sent letters to Mid-Continent administrators reminding them of their obligation to maintain all records as the school prepares to close.

A Corbin eighth-grader will be traveling to Washington, D.C., next month to represent Kentucky in the national finals of the National Geographic Bee.

Nikhil A. Krishna, who attends Corbin Middle School, won the 2014 Kentucky Geographic Bee in Bowling Green. Louisville Farnsley Middle School student Andruw T. Stewart took second place, and third place went to a student from Lexington's Winburn Middle School, Zsombor T. Gal. They were among 82 students competing Friday.

The winner received $100 and a paid trip to Washington for the national finals May 19 to 21.

First prize in the national competition is a $50,000 college scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands, with $25,000 and $10,000 scholarships to the next two finishers.

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